“Captain America: Sam Wilson” #10 is a tie-in to “Civil War II,” but — unlike a lot of other comic event tie-ins — this one actually hinges on its parent title. Nick Spencer and Angel Unzueta bring readers to James Rhodes’ funeral following his death in “Civil War II” #1, even as they explore what it’s like to be a minority suffering a prominent loss.
In wake of the recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida, it’s hard not to draw parallels between the what’s happening in the real world and Spencer’s subject in “Captain America: Sam Wilson” #10. As such, the other black superheroes coming together after Rhodey’s death feels much more understandable, particularly for those who have never been a minority nor felt the need to be around those who understand what it’s like to be a much smaller subset of a system. The conversations between the characters — which are tinged with grief and frustration — ring true. It culminates in the funeral speech, where Spencer has Sam articulate what it means to be a hero as well as an inspiration to others.
Spencer doesn’t lose sight of the other stories within this title, though, most notably the backlash over Sam Wilson being Captain America. As Steve Rogers has had his youth restored, it feels natural to see pundits demand his resignation, even as the idea of Cap’s legacy is clearly going somewhere, particularly considering the recent revelations in “Captain America: Steve Rogers” about Rogers’ allegiances. Spencer juggles the plots well, and the addition of Rage’s call to arms feels like a piece that snaps in perfectly alongside the others. It’s a slow burn this issue, but the pacing feels good.
Unzueta draws “Captain America: Sam Wilson” #10 with a fine, clean line, and there’s a lot of body language on display here that comes together well. Sam and Misty’s conversation over Sam delivering the eulogy works in no small part because of how Unzueta portrays Sam’s reluctance — look at his slouched shoulders, hung head and hands in pockets as a strong example — as well as how the conversation eventually brings him back around. Considering what a large cast Unzueta has to draw here, it would have been easy for some corners to be cut, but this is a handsome issue from start to finish. The wide variety of people are all instantly recognizable, from the crowds of heroes to the sea of civilian faces.
It’s nice to see a tie-in issue feel necessary rather than tacked on; “Captain America: Sam Wilson” #10 is a good example of how to take an idea from a parent title and run with it in a way that supplements the event while also standing on its own as a good comic. Spencer and Unzueta do a good job here, but — based on the final pages — it’s the next issue that’s really going to stand out now that the slow burn is starting to turn into a raging inferno. I’ll definitely be back next month to see that happen.